We Have Donated 2,300,000 Books Globally
The winter semester has come and gone this year, and most of the organizations that worked with Worldwide Book Drive during that period have sent in their books. We have largely finished sorting and tallying the shipments, and the results have been... disappointing.
Don't get me wrong; some of you have sent in fantastically useful shipments that have gone to a good cause. For that, we are extremely grateful! But we are lagging significantly behind our goals when it comes to bringing in books. Subsequently, we are rolling out a new Book Drive Awards Program that we hope encourages better shipments and more enthusiastic participation.
The new program provides awards in a tier-based system according to the number and type of books contributed:
100 to 1999 total pounds of books, including 60 fundraiser-qualified books
--Official Worldwide Book Drive award certificate
2000 to 2999 total pounds of books, including 80 fundraiser-qualified books
--Recognition on Worldwide Book Drive's social media (Facebook, Twitter)
--Official Worldwide Book Drive award certificate
3000 to 4999 total pounds of books, including 100 fundraiser-qualified books
--Official Worldwide Book Drive Gold-Level Award Plaque
--Recognition on Worldwide Book Drive's social media (Facebook, Twitter)
--Official Worldwide Book Drive award certificate
5000+ total pounds of books, including 150 fundraiser-qualified books
--The opportunity to be interviewed for the Worldwide Book Drive blog
--The opportunity to create a short video about the organization's in participating in our Worldwide Book Drive, to be posted to Youtube
--Official Worldwide Book Drive Platinum-Level Award Plaque
--Recognition on Worldwide Book Drive's social media (Facebook, Twitter)
--Official Worldwide Book Drive award certificate
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I will be posting regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes a grab bag post every Friday.
People have been saying for years that Hollywood has “run out of ideas.” I don’t think that’s what’s actually going on. I think the film industry has simply become more cautious. They don’t want to spend millions of dollars on a film unless they are certain people will pay to see it. While that is understandable, this policy has the unfortunate side effect of limiting most films to sequels, formulaic tripe, or adaptations from other popular media.
Think about every popular book or book series to come out in the last fifteen years. Can you name more than one that has not been made into a movie? Even The Secret, a critically-lambasted book about the power of positive thinking, was made into an equally abysmally-received documentary.
Harry Potter? Check.
Jurassic Park? Check.
The Hunger Games? They’re working on it.
A Game of Thrones? It got a whole television series.
So the question is, is this a bad thing? I’d say it depends on several factors.
Is the book even any good? Just because a lot of copies were sold doesn’t mean that the story is worth retelling. The faithful adaptation of Twilight, for example, made a lot of people step back and realize that the books were, ahem, perhaps not as good as the hype made them out to be.
On the other hand, the Harry Potter series tells a complex tale of friendship and courage, of love and loss, of sacrifice, and of good triumphing over evil. THAT is a story worthy of adaptation.
The Film Quality
Who’s directing, and do they know what they are doing? Does the story benefit from the addition of visual and audio elements? The Lord of the Rings worked as films because of Peter Jackson’s painstaking attention to detail—the story, the character arcs, the costumes, the languages, the sets, even the music was all carefully crafted to translate Tolkien’s vision to a new medium.
Kubrick’s The Shining, on the other hand, is perhaps one of the most frightening films I’ve ever seen. However, it completely missed the point of the book, and subsequently is merely a horror movie, when it could have been the redemptive tale of a father choosing his family over severe alcoholism.
The Film’s Faithfulness
Speaking of missing the point! Now, books and films are very different mediums. What works in one probably will not work in the other. The BBC’s Pride and Prejudice kept practically every scene from the book, and while it is a beautiful and amusing film, it is also 5 hours long and lacks the emotional punch of either the book or the (much shorter and more distilled) 2005 film adaptation starring Keira Knightly. So I am not going to tell you that the film needs to stay strictly true to the book.
I DO, however, think that the film should capture the ESSENCE of the book. Spielberg’s Jurassic Park works as a film because it captured the wonder and adventure of Crichton’s novel while doing away with the slow pace and heavy philosophical musings. The Princess Bride lost some of the more interesting plot points from the book, but kept all the humor, the adventure, and the message that love and friendship triumphs over selfishness and hate.
I think a good film adaptation is like any good translation—it takes the idioms of one language and molds them into the idioms of another. So the next time you hear of a movie based on a book, consider doing some research. Find out if you really want to see that book on celluloid.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I will be posting regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes a book review every Thursday.
I recently finished Redshirts, by John Scalzi, and it was… not quite what I expected.
If you’re even passingly familiar with the Star Trek franchise, you probably know that almost every episode begins with the main characters and a random ensign (wearing a red Starfleet uniform) going on an away mission. Then the poor redshirt is killed by some alien creature, giving the audience a bit of shock and excitement just before the commercial break.
In Redshirts, Scalzi takes this trope to its logical—and surprisingly humorous—conclusion. What if the rest of the crew noticed the high death rate on away teams? This is exactly the case when Ensign Andrew Dahl receives his assignment to the Universal Union ship Intrepid. But instead of cowering below decks and avoiding away missions at all costs, Dahl decides to investigate the truth about Intrepid and its crew. What he discovers seems crazy—and the proposed solution to saving his friends seems even crazier.
I won’t spoil the surprise, but suffice to say that the concepts in this book have been explored many times before. Many readers will see at least some of the big twists coming from very early on. What makes Redshirts so fun, though, is that Scalzi approaches the topic with wry wit and a deep awareness of science fiction tropes. Within the first two chapters, I was very much hooked on the book by its sense of humor and its brisk pacing. Also, ice sharks? Really?
What I did not expect, though, was the poignant and moving exploration of the meaning of existence and the power of fiction. Is it okay for writers to kill their characters, or is it murder? Does killing off a character at a strategic point in the story make for good drama, or is it just lazy writing? The most intriguing section of the book is the denouement, when some of the minor characters are brought to the forefront to offer their unique perspectives on the questions posed in Redshirts.
Read the book. Not only is it one of the more entertaining and well-written novels I have read recently, but the topics it explores are relevant to anyone
in a creative field. If you want to write, or make movies, or design games, or otherwise create a world for other characters to inhabit, this book is worth a read. If you have different aspirations, I think you’ll still find it amusing. It’s a quick read, and you’ll annoy your spouse by laughing so much while reading in bed. If that’s not a strong endorsement, I don’t know what is.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I will be posting regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes an interview every Wednesday.
Today's interview was conducted by Cassie Ball.
So, Nate. What do you do at Worldwide Book Drive?
I'm a "business development manager," which is a fancy way of saying that I look for ways to expand what we do here. For example, I collect contact information for student organizations. College clubs tend to have plenty of members enthusiastic about our cause, so we like to reach out to them regularly. They tend to hold really successful book drives, especially if they reach out to the professors--professors always have TONS of books they're not using.
I've recently started calling and emailing grade school and high school districts about ways we can help each other. Many high schools are interested in holding a book drive with us, or in contributing their unused books.
We tried contacting Friends of the Library, a volunteer group that works with libraries whenever they clear books off their shelves, but it turns out that it's difficult to get in touch with local chapters. Still, we would LOVE to work with them if they have books they need to purge.
Oh, and I'm in charge of the blog. :)
What's your favorite part of your job?
Currently? Writing for this blog is pretty fun.
But I've also been here longer than anyone else in the office, so I get to put out a lot of brush fires. Whenever a minor problem comes up--a shipment wasn't picked up, our database isn't working properly, someone asked a question about their drive that our book drive managers didn't know how to answer--I'm the guy on the case. It's a lot of fun. I like problem-solving.
Sounds interesting. I imagine there could be some overlap, but what's the hardest part of your job?
It can be really frustrating when people don't actually read the emails we send. We constantly send out things like sign-up instructions, shipping instructions, book collection suggestions, and so forth. Yet people continue to ask the same questions over and over. Sometimes we just want to grab their shoulders, give 'em a good hard shake and cry, "Just read the emails!"
I'm also personally distressed when people misunderstand what Worldwide Book Drive is as a business. For some reason, some people believe that a for-profit social venture like Worldwide Book Drive that abides by US tax laws (and donates more than 90% of the books we bring in) is shadier than a non-profit organization that is legally allowed to hide how much money they make. Don't ask me to explain their logic; I guess some people just don't understand that "non-profit" is usually a misnomer.
So, what would you tell people who misunderstand Worldwide Book Drive in that way?
I guess I would point out examples of for-profit companies that have a non-profit charitable arm. Nu Skin has the Nu Skin Force for Good Foundation. McDonald's has the Ronald McDonald House Charities. There are plenty of examples of companies that set aside some of their profits for charitable work.
Worldwide Book Drive just expands upon that principle. We are a for-profit organization that puts the vast majority of our efforts into charity. Only 6% of the books we bring in are sold. The rest are either donated to a school, a library, or a charity that focuses on education and literacy, or else they are donated to the Life Skills Program to be recycled.
It's true that we DO make a profit--barely--but we do so because it allows us to focus our efforts on improving world education and literacy. Since 2006, we have donated more than 2.8 million books throughout the world. We are a small company making a big difference.
A lot of people might assume that being a for-profit company would make it more difficult or give you as a company less incentive to make sizeable donations. How does being a for-profit company help Worldwide Book Drive achieve its charitable goals, especially in contrast with non-profit companies?
Well for one thing, there's no scramble to spend or hide our profits when tax season comes around. :P
But on a more serious note, this business model actually gives us MORE incentive to help, rather than less. We have made a promise to our participants about how we will use the books we bring in. Once we have sold that 6% cap, that's it. The rest of the books MUST be donated. No matter what.
This forces us to ruthlessly streamline our processes to avoid spending excess funds. It encourages us to go after higher-quality books. And it gives us a way to function as a business while providing a measurable benefit to impoverished areas.
We should probably wrap this up before it gets too long, but you obviously feel very strongly about Worldwide Book Drive and the job that you do. Do you want to end by telling the readers how they can get involved?
Sure. You can email us through the website or call 801-427-0800 extension 0.
If you want to hold a book drive, or just have books that you want to give to the cause, get in touch with us! We can help you set up your book drive, or help you ship your books.
If you have a local need for books, please let us know! We have thousands of children's books, popular fiction, and educational materials to help schools, libraries, and charities.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I will be posting regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes an author highlight every Tuesday.
Patrick O’Brian has been my favorite author for years. He is best known for the Aubrey-Maturin series, although he has written dozens of other novels, short stories, and non-fiction works. Events from five of the Aubrey-Maturin books were distilled into the 2003 film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.
The 21 books in the series (including a partially finished manuscript published posthumously) follow Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin during the Napoleonic Wars. Jack is a superb sailor who slowly climbs the ranks within the British navy, thanks to his victories at sea and his politically advantageous marriage. Stephen is a physician and natural philosopher from Ireland. As Jack’s best friend, he joins him on many voyages, not just as the ship’s surgeon, but as a spy working against Napoleon.
O’Brian’s novels are known for their painstaking research and detailed descriptions of the early 19th century. The real joy of the series, though, is the superbly authentic and rich use of language. The Aubrey-Maturin series has a large cast of characters, each with his or her unique voice. The prose is strikingly different when following the highly educated Dr. Maturin as opposed to, say, the grouchy old steward Preserved Killick. Despite leaping from character to character, the writing is consistently evocative and beautiful.
The series contains plenty of adventure on the high seas, including ship duels, fleet engagements, amphibious assaults, privateering, typhoons, and shipwrecks—C.S. Forester fans will not be disappointed. The narrative inevitably builds to a dramatic and satisfying climax. However, the books also include plenty of interpersonal drama as the characters deal with each other’s idiosyncrasies. Maturin’s love of nature, for example, gets him in trouble on more than one occasion, as does Aubrey’s libido.
So many books these days are all “high concept this” and “dystopian future that.” Not O’Brian’s books. Many of the best scenes merely consist of a few characters sitting around shooting the breeze. The dialogue is very Austen-esque—it’s engaging and full of subtext. If you like picking apart what is really being said, you’ll enjoy these books.
Each book in the series works adequately well as a stand-alone novel. If you can’t read them in order, you don’t have to. However, some books will spoil events in preceding books, so be prepared for that. Additionally, some plot lines run through multiple books, such as Dr. Maturin’s passion for Diana Villiers, so reading the books out of order could cause some confusion. (“Why is she around again? I could’ve sworn they broke up!”) Therefore, I’d recommend reading the series in order if at all possible, starting with the first book, Master and Commander. The scene at the opera when Jack and Stephen meet for the first time is priceless.
Go to Goodreads.com to learn more about Patrick O’Brian and his many impeccable works.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I will be posting regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes a news post every Monday.
The biggest news of the last week is that we have hired a new book drive manager! Brianna Oviatt has joined our team and has been learning quickly. We are certain that she will be a valuable asset as we continue to grow!
So far, Worldwide Book Drive has donated 32,000 books in 2013. That brings our total books donated since our founding in 2006 to a little over 2.8 million books.
Photo from a Worldwide Book Drive donation to Malawi, Africa.
We currently have about 200 active book drives spread throughout the United States and Canada. Last week, we brought in a little over 3000 pounds of quality books.
Both of those numbers are significantly lower than we’d like, so if you have signed up, please contact your book drive manager today and let them know the status of your book drive. They will be very happy to help you ship your books.
If you have NOT signed up, perhaps now is the time to do so! Contact us today to ask how you can help.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I have received approval to post regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes a grab bag post every Friday.
At Worldwide Book Drive, we strive to end world illiteracy.
Most people, recognizing the value of books, can’t bring themselves to discard a book once they’ve read it, but rereading books is rare in this busy and fast-paced world. That leaves hundreds of thousands—perhaps even millions—of books sitting on shelves, unused, neglected. Worldwide Book Drive aims to collect these unwanted books and donate them to the schools, libraries, and charities that so desperately need them.
We pay to ship tens of thousands of pounds of books every week. At our warehouses, the books are sorted and processed. Then, about six percent of the books are made available for purchase to cover our operating costs and pay our employees. If a book is too old or damaged, we’ll donate it to the Life Skills Program. The Life Skills Program employs adults with disabilities to recycle the books into paper and insulation.
The remaining books are made available for donation to schools, libraries, and charities throughout the world. Last year, we donated 370,000 books!
Why do we do it? Because education is more important now then every before. There are at least two dozen countries with literacy rates of less than 60%. Walk down the street in Afghanistan and flip a coin every time you meet someone new. Chances are, you’d get “heads” more often then you’d meet someone who can read.
Try thinking of ten jobs that can be performed by people who cannot write.
Now imagine the kinds of people who are willing to employ laborers who cannot read their employee contracts.
This illiteracy problem is particularly harmful to women. They are actively denied the ability to educate themselves and enter the workforce. They are, effectively, slaves to their fathers and husbands.
We at Worldwide Book Drive hope to end this cycle of poverty and injustice.
If you’re willing to help us, please contact us today. If you have books to contribute, we can help you ship them. If you know of a school, library, or charity in need of the assistance we can provide, please put them in touch with us.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I have received approval to post regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes a book review every Thursday.
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for new authors. An author’s first published novel is an exciting event, and I tend to eagerly jump on it.
Daniel O’Malley’s first published novel is The Rook, first in a series called the Checquy Files. It is a paranormal thriller that combines elements of The Bourne Identity, X-Men, Harry Potter, and the X-Files into a fresh and unique package.
Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) Thomas wakes up in a rainy London park surrounded by dead bodies. She has no memory of events before that morning, but her shockingly well-prepared pre-amnesia self left behind a series of letters to help her piece together her life—and discover the danger she’s in. These letters are a clever narrative device that allows O’Malley to draw back the curtain on the fantastic world he has built and the characters who live there.
Myfanwy is a Rook, a leader in a secret organization called the Chequy that suppresses and regulates the supernatural forces in Britain. However, someone in the Chequy has betrayed her, which may or may not have to do with the threat of invasion by a powerful ancient force. Myfanwy needs to decipher the clues she left herself, figure out how to function in the strange new world in which she finds herself, and learn to control her unique and potentially deadly abilities before the traitor strikes again.
The Rook is fast-paced, with an intriguing premise and a huge cast of unique characters, such as the regal British lady who walks through dreams as easily as through doors, the person with one mind in four bodies, and the psychic duck. O’Malley’s great skill is world-building. The reader is immediately sucked into the world of the Chequy, which is presented with refreshingly stark matter-of-factness.
Exposition is clearly a weak point for O’Malley. The letters from Myfanwy’s former self are a clever plot device for this book, but would be totally nonsensical in any sequels. The exposition in non-letter form was frequently clumsy and inelegant, practically smacking the reader across the face with new information. Additionally, the book fails as a mystery. The clues provided are insufficient to allow the reader to solve the mystery alongside Myfanwy. This would be fine, but O’Malley also lacks the finesse to make the big reveals as shocking as they should be.
Still, the book is an enormously enjoyable thriller. The tension keeps ratcheting up and the stakes keep getting higher as Myfanwy delves deeper into the supernatural world hiding just out of sight. The supernatural elements are seamlessly woven into the everyday, making one look about with the hopeful and dreadful thought of, “Maybe…?” Go to Goodreads.com to learn more about The Rook and how to get yourself a copy.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I have received approval to post regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes an interview every Wednesday.
Today’s interview is with Erin McCawley, employee at Worldwide Book Drive.
Tell us about yourself.
I am a College Senior at Utah Valley University, graduating with a Bachelors degree in History this year. I am originally from Canada but have been living in the United States for a long time now.
My favorite books genres are mystery and science fiction, though historical fiction is a close third. I love spending time with my pets. I keep a goldfish on my desk at work named Henry. He is so much fun to watch as he bounces and wiggles his way around his bowl.
What do you do at Worldwide Book Drive?
I am a Book Drive Manager at Worldwide Book Drive. When you sign up to run a book drive with us, I am one of the people that will help you. We provide answers to all your book drive-related questions, and we set up shipping at the conclusion of your drive. I also personally work with the Eagle Scouts who complete their projects with us.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is helping people wrap up their drives, start shipping processes, and find out how many books they have brought in. It is a really good feeling, finding out when a book drive has done well and knowing that you were able to help them get there.
What is the least favorite part of your job?
My least favorite part of my job is trying to keep a failing book drive going. When a club starts to lose confidence because of a streak of bad luck they tend to stop communicating with us. Trying to keep that line of communication can be really difficult, especially as we really just want to see them succeed.
What would you like to say to potential book drive participants?
I would just like to say that sometimes finding ways to gather books can be difficult but it is important to stay in contact with your book drive manager. We are always willing to provide ideas on collecting books.
As part of Worldwide Book Drive’s efforts to increase our online presence, I have received approval to post regular updates to the blog. Our weekly blog schedule includes an author highlight every Tuesday.
Originally by Cassie Ball
As one of the most renowned, successful contemporary novelists in the world, Terry Pratchett certainly doesn’t need my help. Pratchett is best-known for his award-winning fantasy-satire Discworld series, and for good reason. In it, Pratchett satirizes everything under the sun, from religion to rock music (sometimes in the same book) with a unique combination of insight, wit, and sensitivity.
Entering the Discworld series can seem a little daunting. There are almost forty books in the series, and Pratchett operates under the assumption that the reader is smart enough to figure out what’s happening. Pratchett is not a big fan of exposition in the traditional sense, preferring instead to simply state the facts of the story. The reader is expected to accept the fact that the University Librarian is an orangutan, that the anthropomorphic personification of Death sometimes suffers from ennui and can’t understand plumbing, and that songs about hedgehogs are universally offensive.
Perhaps uniquely, I don’t recommend starting at the beginning of the series. In fact, I think the first three books (The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Equal Rites) are the weakest entries in the series. Book 4, Mort, could be a decent place to start, but would not be my recommendation. Thankfully, Pratchett’s Discworld series doesn’t need to be read in any particular order. Most of the books stand on their own, although some books are a little more accessible than others.
I would recommend starting with Book 20, Hogfather. It’s a happy little holiday tale about a plot to kill the Hogfather, the Disc’s version of Santa Clause. In addition to being fantastically written and chock-full of wry humor, it’s an easy introduction to life on the Disc.
Pratchett suffers from early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, but he hasn’t let it affect his writing. He still publishes at least one book a year, and maintains his razor-sharp wit, his unique perspective, and his deep, profound insight. Check him out at Goodreads.com.
December 3, 2012 12:31 by df
It has been a fabulous six months here at WWBD. We have been donating a record amount of books, while working with a record amount of book drives and schools across the nation. We have moved our location from the warehouse 104 north 1200 west Orem ut, to 200 north 210 west STE#100 Provo Ut, 84601. We still work with life skills to do some our fulfillment and warehousing in Orem. We have also had a big change in our staff as well. We want to welcome 4 new people to WWBD. Nate Kurth has been with WWBD for over a year he is the new Business Development Manager for our office we also have Sean Mccawley who is a development staff who works directly with Nate to help us find the schools for us to have successful drives. We have 3 new account managers, Erin Mccawley, Amanda Barnes, and Anna Davis. Our account managers are working hard so we can get the books neccessary to end iliteracy in the world.
Each year, Nu Skin chooses a project for its Annual Force for Good Day. We were privilaged to be a part of their project for 2012. The company worked with United Way of Utah County and Community Action Services to compile 10,000 lunch kits for local children. 5,000 of these kits also included a book. These kits will provide lunch and summer reading materials to children in the Provo, UT school district who depend on school-subsidized meals during the school year. 220 children will receive a meal and book 3 times a week throughout the entire summer.
We donated 1075 children's books to the project. Nu Skin employees also contributed books. The goal for book collections was 2500 books, but together we doubled it, bringing in 5,000 books in total!
According to Bill Hulterstrom, CEO of United Way of Utah County, 3 out of 10 Utah County children are not reading at grade level in 3rd grade. A low reading level in 3rd grade increases a child's chance of not graduating high school by 4 times! If they also live in poverty, their chance of not graduating increases 6 times! Access to reading materials will significantly help these children in Provo improve their reading and their chances of staying in school.
Provo city Mayor John Curtis also spoke at the event. He thanked Nu Skin for their contributions to the community, emphasizing that, despite great growth in recent years, there is still a great need in Provo. These kits will make a difference for those living in poverty in Provo.
We were so privilaged to be part of this event and hope to do similar projects in the future.
I Cake Primary school is located along the coast near the Udu Peninsula. It is approximately 94km from Labasa Town, on Fiji’s second largest island. (Vanua Levu). Built on a sunny hill overlooking the panoramic, turquoise sea in the Northeastern direction, it is central to the two main villages, Lakeba and Nabubu. It has a land area of about 3 hectares. Students from these villages walk a distance of about 2 km to reach the school. At this school there are 4 teacher's quarters. These quarters have built-in flush toilets and bathrooms facilities, quite a rare achievement in rural Fijian schools.
They fulfilled their father's dream and built a school in a more central location so the kids wouldn't have to travel as far. These books should arrive in Fiji the middle of June.